“Stuff your eyes with wonder,
live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds.
See the world.
It’s more fantastic than any dream made
or paid for in factories.”
As soon as I landed in Columbus, Ohio, I picked up a rental car from the airport and headed to two cemeteries. The first one was a Confederate cemetery but I’m going to write about that a bit later. The second cemetery was Green Lawn Cemetery.
Green Lawn Cemetery is actually not connected to Green Lawn Abbey. They’re on the same road and the street is named Green Lawn but the two are not affiliated.
The cemetery was founded in 1848 as part of the rural cemetery movement, there are over 360 acres which is about three times as large as my beloved Hollywood Cemetery here in Richmond, Virginia. There are approximately 150,000 interments which include elaborate mausoleums to the modest military markers.
There are some famous folks buried in Green Lawn. Many of whom are famous to the locals in the area; and many who probably should be but time has a way of erasing history. For example, on day 1 I’m in Green Lawn and take a picture of one of the cutest mausoleums with the name Gay at the top. It was surrounded by the most gorgeous landscaping and beautiful trees. A few days later, I was dining at a restaurant on Gay Street. Hmm, could it be the same Gay? I asked the waiter and he had no idea. To be fair, there are tons of names of streets that I never connect to their namesakes. It turns out that the mausoleum belongs to Mrs. Virginia Walcutt Gay who belonged to “a Columbus pioneer family.” Mrs. Gay was a traveler and actively involved in charitable and civic affairs. She even gave money to start the Virginia Gay Hospital in Vinton, Iowa. I love finding the back stories of those buried in the cemeteries I visit.
There were actually two markers that I intended to visit. First, was for James Thurber, the New Yorker columnist, who is buried there. Because I visited The Thurber house, I’ll save my discussion for another post.
Another marker was the Hayden Mausoleum which belongs to Charles H. Hayden, the son of Peter Hayden who formed several businesses including P. Hayden & Co. (bankers), P. Hayden & Sons (foundry & machine works; coal & coke), P. Hayden Hardware Co., P. Hayden Saddlery Hardware Co., & Haydenville Mining & Manufacturing Co. His companies prospered and he became quite well off. One website notes that “Charles spent his children's inheritance to build this great mausoleum. The tombs filled up and some of his children were left to be buried in the grounds of the cemetery.” The Ohio Exploration Society adopted the Hayden Mausoleum in 2003 and they help care for the grounds located around the mausoleum.
Find A Grave shows some pictures of inside of the mausoleum and notes that it is in serious need of repair. I went to see the Hayden Mausoleum, which I will note that one cannot miss seeing this because of its size, for its grandness and because it is reportedly haunted. It was the middle of the day and there was not anything unusual about the structure. Apparently, if you knock on the mausoleum's door, the spirits will knock back or offer a more “substantial manifestation.” I have to say that I did not knock. Partly, it is not my thing to walk around touching pieces of art, even those that are quite large, in cemeteries. But, I also have to admit that as I moved close to the door, I noticed a hole. I tried to shine my iPhone flashlight but it was pitch black! The hole in the door was just large enough for a hand to fit inside… or to come out and grab ya. Yeah, I'm the girl who still runs down the hall in my childhood home. It has one of those long halls that was always dark (because my father worked night-shift and slept during the day). So, I freak out myself quite easily... and happily too. Anyway, I took a few pictures and then went on my way.
I was delighted to see that on my way back around the cemetery that there were some gothy girls snapping pictures. Turns out there was actually a Haunter convention happening that weekend (how's that luck for ya! I even got to see a zombie walk while I was in Ohio!) and when I posted this picture on Facebook, a friend knew them. I love how small the world can be sometimes.
I did ask for permission to take pictures of them taking pictures so that you could see the size of the place. Plus, her outfit is amazing.